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Pro-Palestine activism must be ‘managed’ under counter-extremism strategy, universities told

RT | February 22, 2017

British universities have been advised to “manage” Palestinian activism on campus in order to comply with the UK government’s ‘Prevent’ counter-extremism strategy.

“Vocal support for Palestine,” “Opposition to Israeli settlements in Gaza,” and “Criticism of wars in the Middle East” are included in a list of “contentious topics” on the Safe Campus Communities website.

The website includes a training section set up by Universities UK and the government’s now defunct Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to help staff fulfill their Prevent obligations.

Since 2015, Prevent has required public sector workers to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.”

The website says the material is intended to promote free speech by encouraging universities to ensure “topics that may be seen as controversial” may be “debated in a safe environment.”

It advises institutions to take steps to manage events in which “extremist views are likely to be expressed” and ensure such views are challenged by “inviting additional speakers with opposing views.”

“Relevant higher education bodies also need to risk assess and manage events where these or similar views may be expressed,” it says.

Critics fear the guidance could stifle free speech and political expression, according to Middle East Eye.

On Tuesday, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) canceled an ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ event organized for next week by Friends of Palestine because of concerns it would not be “balanced,” Middle East Eye reports.

UCLan said it was concerned that the event, called ‘Debunking misconceptions on Palestine and the importance of BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement]’, would fall foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the UK government.

The IHRA defines anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews,” including “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

UCLan said: “We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests.

“In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned.”

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said it was absurd to single out support for a Palestinian state or opposition to Israeli settlements as controversial or extremist.

“Given that all major political parties in the UK and the overwhelming majority of governments across the world support a Palestinian state and oppose settlements on the basis that they violate international law and are an obstacle to peace it is absurd to define these as extremist views.

“There is an urgent need for the relevant bodies to review these materials and ensure that any training offered to educational establishments truly reflects the stated intention to uphold academic freedom and freedom of expression,” he said.

Read more:

Israeli embassy backing campaign to topple Britain’s pro-Palestine student leader – report

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nikki Haley Calls Apartheid Israel ‘the one true democracy in the Middle East’

By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | February 21, 2017

Out of all of Trump’s appointees, Nikkie Haley is probably one of the worst. Formerly a governor of South Carolina, Haley is the current US ambassador to the United Nations. That’s her in the video above giving a presentation at the UN last Thursday.

I’m not sure how much Haley knows about international law. According to Wikipedia, she graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. How she ended up as UN ambassador, after criticizing Trump in the general election, is unclear. *

At any rate, Haley seems fully unaware that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Nor does she seem to comprehend why other UN-member states might press for resolutions seeking to call Israel to account, both for its settlements as well as its 50-year occupation of the West Bank–land universally recognized as necessary for a Palestinian state. So perhaps she is simply uninformed and does not understand the nature of Israel’s occupation or its devastating impact upon the lives of those forced to live under it. Or at least that’s one possibility.

The other possibility, of course, is that Haley does understand these things… and that she simply believes Israel is exceptional and should not have to follow the same laws and international standards that apply to other states. If so, apparently in Israel are those who would agree with her. Less than a week after her talk at the UN–in which she accused the body of a “prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues”–an Israeli military court handed down an 18-month sentence to an Israeli soldier who carried out an execution-style slaying of a wounded Palestinian in March of last year. There was no doubt the soldier was the one who pulled the trigger. The shooting was captured live on video. The sentence of 18 months he received for killing a Palestinian is lighter than what Palestinian children are often given for throwing stones.

* Incredibly, Haley also voiced criticism of Trump–over his stance on Russia–during her congressional confirmation hearings back in January. At that time she accused Russia of “war crimes,” and said, “They (the Russians) have done some terrible atrocities.”

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Video | , , , , | 3 Comments

Zionist Entity Poisoning Palestinians in West Bank: Fact-Finding Mission

Al-Manar | February 22, 2017

An international fact-finding mission concludes that the trade manufacture and use of toxic pesticides in Israeli illegal settlements result in human rights violations and contribute to the food insecurity in the Occupied West Bank.

Pesticide run-off from agricultural operations and hazardous wastes from the manufacture of agrochemicals inside the illegal settlements poison Palestinian farms, livestock, and water sources, the investigators learned, according to Environment News Service website.

Dumping hazardous wastes in Palestinian territory has been documented, including in areas with a high concentration of schools.

The joint mission, conducted in May 2016, was led by the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature, APN, based in Amman, and the PAN Asia Pacific, PANAP, based in Malaysia, one of five regional centers of the Pesticide Action Network.

The investigation reveals the presence of highly hazardous pesticides banned by the Palestinian Authority, but illegally traded into the Occupied Palestinian Territories – pesticides such as endosulfan and Dukatalon, a mix of paraquat and diquat.

The two reports that came out of the investigation found that 50 percent of pesticides in Palestine are illegal, and that five metric tons of banned pesticides have been confiscated since 1995.

The Palestinian Authority is in no position to dispose of these chemicals safely, and the Zionist entity refuses to take them back, investigators found.

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel to Bulldoze Palestinian Homes to Build ‘Settlers Only’ Road

Sputnik – 22.02.2017

As Israel begins work on its “American road” project in East Jerusalem’s Jabal al-Mukaber area, hundred of Palestinians are on edge, as their homes lie directly in its path.

Part of the larger al-Touq Highway, the road is ostensibly being constructed to connect Israeli settlements north, south, and east of East Jerusalem, and cuts through sections of Jerusalem, joining the Maale Adumim and Har Homa settlements on the West Bank.

The al-Touq Highway, proposed ten years ago by Israel’s municipality planning and construction committee, will, once completed, be 230-feet wide and over 7-miles long.

Roughly 300 acres, encompassing 12 Palestinian neighborhoods in Jabal al-Mukaber, will be confiscated to build the road, which has alarmed residents of Salaa, where construction has already begun.

Salaa resident Mohammad al-Sawahra told Al Jazeera, “We are living in a state of perpetual fear…It’s as if we are living in [two different worlds]. In Palestinian areas, it is like living in the third world, while those living in settlements built on the land of Jabal al-Mukaber are offered a life of comfort like first world countries.”

Al-Sawahra received a demolition notice for his home last month, adding that, “Now, they want to build a road on the ruins of my home for themselves, as well.”

He will be one of some 500 Palestinians living in 57 homes set to be demolished for the ‘American Road’ project. Raed Basheer, with the Committee of Defence for Jabal al-Mukaber properties, told Al Jazeera, “We were surprised to hear about the project, which will be 32 metres wide, with an additional 32 metres on the sides to allow for the light rail. All of the homes, both old and new, standing in the way of the road, will be demolished.”

“In response to this plan,” Basheer said, “we reached out to the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem and managed, with difficulty, to obtain an extension on the house demolition orders for five years, provided that we submit a request every year to extend the demolition orders. But, still, we do not know whether we will be allowed to remain in our homes over the next five years.”

The project map reportedly shows the disconnection of roads that link Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods, cutting residents off from health care facilities and schools, leaving a road only to be used by Israelis.

The plan comes on the heels of a recently-passed and hotly-debated bill that retroactively legalizes thousands of Israeli homes on privately-owned Palestinian land. The “regulation” law has been called “theft’ and a “land grab” by the opposition.

About 48,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished since Israel first seized the territories in 1967.

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 2 Comments

US Confirms It Used Depleted Uranium in Syria

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By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 21.02.2017

The US and its allies have many times attacked Russia for alleged «indiscriminate bombing» in support of the Syrian government, including cluster bombs. The accusations have been denied and never proven. Now the US military has confirmed it misinformed the public about its use of munitions in Syria which cause harm to civilians.

The US military has admitted using depleted uranium (DU) anti-tank rounds on two occasions in 2015 during devastating air strikes against convoys of Islamic State (IS) tanker trucks. Investigative reporter Samuel Oakford first brought up the use of DU ammunition by the coalition in October 2016. There have been questions raised ever since.

According to US Central Command spokesman Major Josh Jacques, a total of 5,265 depleted uranium rounds were fired in combination with other incendiary rounds in 2015. The US may use the munitions again. As the official put it, «We will continue to look at all options during operational planning to defeat ISIS, this includes DU rounds».

Earlier statements maintained that the coalition would not do so. In 2015, the US military Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman John Moore said that US and coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve. Now one can see the statements were not true.

Depleted uranium is the byproduct of the enriched uranium needed to power nuclear reactors. It is roughly 0.7 times as radioactive as natural uranium, and its high density makes it ideal for armor-piercing rounds such as the PGU-14 and certain tank shells.

The depleted uranium munitions are known for their enhanced armor-piercing capabilities. They have been criticized for posing health risks to soldiers who fire them and to civilian populations. Some scientists and Iraqi physicians blame depleted uranium weapons used by US forces for a major increase in cancer cases and birth defects in Iraq. The munitions have been suspected to be a possible cause of «Gulf War syndrome», the name given to a collection of debilitating maladies suffered by veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War and the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Numerous studies affirm the use of the munitions in Iraq negatively affected the health of civilian population causing cancer and birth defects. When it was used during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign in Kosovo, the United Nations advised that children stay away from the impact zones. Recently published data from the 2003 Iraq War showed that A-10 attack aircraft used more DU against targets that were not tanks or armoured vehicles, questioning the current US justification that DU was needed in Syria. Historic data from the Gulf War also demonstrated that most armoured targets destroyed by A-10s were targeted by Maverick missiles, not DU munitions.

The UN Environment Program has conducted studies and clean-ups of areas affected by use of the munitions in conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq. It has described them as «chemically and radiologically toxic heavy metal». In 2014, a United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency report on depleted-uranium munitions said that direct contact with larger amounts of depleted uranium through the handling of scrap metal, for instance, could «result in exposures of radiological significance».

A University of Southern Maine study discovered that depleted uranium causes widespread damage to DNA, which could lead to lung cancer, according to a study of the metal’s effects on human lung cells. «Given the international opprobrium associated with the use of depleted uranium, we had been pretty astonished to hear that it had been used in operations in Syria», Doug Weir, the International Coordinator for the Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, told the Washington Post on February 16.

There is no international treaty or rule that explicitly bans the munitions’ use. Internationally, DU exists in a legal gray area. In 2012, 155 states have supported a resolution calling for a precautionary approach to depleted uranium weapons during voting at the UN General Assembly. Just four countries – the US, UK, France and Israel – voted against and 27 abstained. The resolution was informed by the UN Environment’s Program’s (UNEP) repeated calls for a precautionary approach to the use and post-conflict management of the controversial weapons. The passage of this fourth General Assembly resolution is a further challenge to the use of radioactive and chemically toxic conventional weapons that can lead to environmental contamination and humanitarian harm.

It is worth mentioning that the US has a long history of using the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) banned by international law. In 2013, Amnesty International said US drone strikes could be classified as war crimes. It is broadly believed the global use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in such countries as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia and Libya, constitutes a violation of international law.

Obviously, the US UAV warfare violates Article 51 of the UN Charter that defines the rules of self-defense because America is not attacked. International law limits self-defense against prospective threats to ones which are «imminent». The employed signature tactics are inherently in violation of the principle of distinction because it fails to identify civilian or militant. Drone attacks run against the principle of proportionality concerning unintentional civilian casualties in war. They violate Article 2 of the Geneva Convention (IV) Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War by disregarding the human rights of the innocent civilians killed in the strikes. Furthermore, the US UAV tactics conflict with International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which prohibits «arbitrary» killing even during an armed conflict. The US is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or many other international legal forums where legal action might be started. It is, however, part of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) where cases can be initiated by one state against another. Conducting drone strikes in a country against its will, like in Syria, for instance, could be seen as an act of war.

So, it’s double standards again while the acts of war continue. Their justice, legality and necessity are questioned but somehow their issues don’t hit headlines of US media, while Russia does. The US blaming Russia for «indiscriminate bombing», the use of cluster bombs and other misdeeds in Syria is like the pot calling the kettle black.

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Quebec elites out of touch with rest of province on Israel

By Caroline Biotteau | rabble.ca | February 20, 2017

The most recent poll regarding Canadian’s attitudes towards Israel has just been released and the results are telling. Quite strikingly, far more Canadians have a negative view of the government of Israel than a positive one. Even more remarkable, Quebec respondents have a far harsher view of the government of Israel than their fellow Canadians.

Some have argued that Quebecers have always been more critical of the Israeli government, and more sympathetic to the Palestinians. This assumption was up in the air, however, when a survey by Crop-La Presse issued in 2014 during the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas found that the majority (64 per cent) of Quebecers chose not to pick sides in the messy flare up.

With this most recent poll sponsored by my organization, it is clear that regardless of what happened in 2014, Quebecers remain wary of the Israeli government. Of those who expressed an opinion, 57 per cent of Quebecers had a negative opinion of the Israeli government, as compared to 46 per cent overall in Canada. Only 16 per cent of Quebecers had a positive opinion, as compared to 28 per cent overall in Canada.

While this doesn’t tell us whether Quebecers are pro-Palestinian, it does show that they are far more negative than other provinces when it comes to the Israeli government.

With survey results like these, one would expect Quebec politicians to be guarded with respect to relations with the Israeli government. This could not be more wrong. With Montreal mayor Denis Coderre’s recent economic mission, Premier Philippe Couillard’s upcoming one and a recent statement on Israel by CPC leadership candidate Maxime Bernier, it is easy to feel as if our political elite are detached from the population’s concerns over Israel’s human rights abuses.

Rather than asking Israeli leaders tough questions about violations of international law, Quebec leaders only seem to idolize Israel for being such an innovative and business-friendly country. This is especially the case for the particularly effusive Coderre, who came back full of praise for Israel following his economic mission to Israel and (symbolically) the West-Bank.

While having a negative perception of the Israeli government does not mean that Quebecers want their leaders to be anti-Israel, they still might prefer a more balanced approach.

Nobody can deny the fact that Israel has managed to achieve an impressive economic success and that their innovation sector is quite enviable. However, considering the fact that this country is repeatedly cited for violations of international law, and that Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government continues the illegal colonization of Palestinian territory, many Quebecers may believe that our politicians should not engage in a “business as usual” economic approach with Israel.

In China, Philippe Couillard experienced firsthand the difficulty of pursuing economic relations while being under pressure to denounce human rights violations. It is especially hard for premiers since because of the Constitution, Canadian provinces cannot lead their own international policies and diplomacy.

However, Quebec has found a way to circumvent this by engaging in various economic and cultural missions and investing in permanent delegations throughout the world. This broader role undertaken by Quebec political elites is not exempt from responsibilities — and leaders like Couillard and Coderre need to find a way to achieve both: pursue economic motivations while making sure violators of international law are held accountable.

In the current international political climate, such proposals may seem like wishful thinking: economic incentives are almost always prioritized to the detriment of human rights issues. However, Western leaders are becoming more and more vocal about their disapproval of Israel’s increasing settlements expansion, and ongoing disregard for Palestinian human rights.

It’s time that Quebec leaders find a way to do the same, and these new poll results should give them all the incentive they need.

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli university to be established on Palestinian land in Salfit

Palestine Information Center – February 19, 2017

SALFIT – Israeli forces have leveled Palestinian lands in Mesha village, to the west of Salfit province, in favor of illegal settlement expansion.

Speaking with PIC, head of Mesha village council, Sabah Amer, said Palestinian lands have been increasingly seized and leveled by the Israeli occupation forces and authorities as part of underway endeavors to expand the Qana and She’ari Tekva illegal outposts.

Researcher Khaled Maali also said Palestinian lands in the area have been confiscated to establish an Israeli university at the expense of Palestinian lands, referring to the establishment of an Israeli university in Ariel outpost, at which nearly 25,000 Israeli settlers have been enrolled, as another case in point.

According to Maali, such moves contravene international humanitarian law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the Hague Convention, which prohibit the establishment of government institutions on occupied land.

Maali added that the swift pace of illegal settlement construction led to the dismemberment of over 90% of Palestinian lands in Mesha village and the isolation of Palestinian communities behind the apartheid fence. Serious damage has also been wrought on olive trees grown by Palestinian farmers in the area.

Mesha is surrounded by three illegal Israeli settlement outposts, including Qana and She’ari Tekva.

February 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Any Israeli Attempt to Undermine Lebanese Sovereignty will Meet an Appropriate Response’

Al-Manar – February 18, 2017

Lebanese President General Michel Aoun deemed on Saturday that “the message content of Israel’s Delegate at the United Nations, Danny Danon, poses a threat to Lebanon,” adding that “the international community ought to pay attention to the possible Israeli hostile intentions against Lebanon.”

Speaking before his interlocutors at Baabda Palace this afternoon, Aoun asserted that “any Israeli attempt to undermine the sovereignty of Lebanon shall be confronted with the appropriate response.”

The President stressed that “Israel must comply with Security Council resolutions before any other, yet it still refuses to implement Resolution #1701 and the transition from the cessation of hostilities to a ceasefire stage, despite the fact that more than 11 years have passed since the release of said Resolution.”

“Israel still occupies Lebanese territories in the northern part of Ghajar, Shebaa Farms and Kfar Shouba Hilltops, while effecting daily violations of the Blue Line and Lebanese sovereignty by air and sea,” Aoun went on to indicate.

“In addition, half a million Palestinians are still forced to stay away from their homeland, hosted by Lebanon in the absence of their right to return to their land and property, which constitutes an act of aggression against Lebanon and its people,” he added.

“This act of aggression falls under the content of Article 51 of the UN Charter, which gives Lebanon and its people the natural right to defend their land,” Aoun underscored.

The President concluded that “Lebanon, which has respected all obligations towards the United Nations and its labor force in the South, views the Israeli message to the United Nations as a blatant attempt to threaten the security and stability enjoyed by the southern towns and villages located within the international area of operations, and therefore, bears full responsibility for any aggression against Lebanon.”

Source: NNA

February 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hearts and Minds

Hearts and Minds (Peter davis, 1974) from John on Vimeo.

Hearts and Minds is a 1974 American documentary film about the Vietnam War directed by Peter Davis.
The film’s title is based on a quote from President Lyndon B. Johnson: “the ultimate victory will depend on the hearts and minds of the people who actually live out there”.
The movie was chosen as Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 47th Academy Awards presented in 1975.

February 14, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Italian Populists Lead Parliamentary Push to Alter NATO Ties

Sputnik – February 12, 2017

Italy’s Five Star Movement party has proposed a way of altering how the country participates in NATO, party member Manlio Di Stefano told Sputnik Italy.

In an interview with Sputnik Italy, Manlio Di Stefano, a parliamentary deputy from the country’s populist Five Star Movement, said that the party has proposed a bill which would alter the way in which Italy participates in NATO. The interview came amid the Italian government efforts to prevent the country’s parliament from altering Italy’s relationship with NATO.

In 2008, 600,000 people signed a petition to review Rome’s stance on the alliance, but the government still refuses to heed their demands.

Di Stefano said that the Five Star Movement’s proposal urges the parliament to once again vote on all decisions related to the use of military bases or transportation of weapons within Italy.

“We want all this regulated by parliament, not just the government alone. It is very important to move in this direction in order to ensure the protection of the environment and the health of citizens, first of all in areas where a NATO contingent is based. They include Sardinia, Sicily, Dal Molin base, Camp Darby and others,” he said.

Apart from risks related to health and the environment, there is also a nuclear threat, Di Stefano said, adding that many non-NATO members have already sent their response systems to the Aviano and Ghedi bases, where 90 nuclear bombs are deployed.

“It seems obvious that Russia may also have a similar response system aimed at Italy, and I think that it is normal. But we do not need these risks. Even one B61-12 bomb dropped on our territory will be enough to destroy the whole country,” he added.

Di Stefano said that it’s necessary to clarify that Italy withdrawing from NATO is out of question because it could “destabilize the entire European system.”

“We only call for a change in the format of our participation in NATO, and it is quite another thing. Article 12 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization stipulates that any NATO member can demand the review of the contract,” he said.

He added that the Five Star Movement’s bill would “normalize the decision-making procedures, as well as to introduce a vote on these decisions.”

Late last month, about 1,000 protesters participated in a demonstration against NATO bases in the Italian city of Vicenza.

“We are standing against the continued existence of the Dal Molin NATO base, we want to use the territory for the construction of the so-called Peace Park,” one of the organizers said.

The march was headed by the No Dal Molin Movement, which opposes US airbases located in the north of the city. The protesters carried a huge banner, saying “Protection of land for a future without military bases.”

The demonstration was sanctioned by local authorities and was accompanied by a police escort. Italy has been a member of NATO since April 4, 1949.

Italy’s attitude toward NATO airbases soured in 1998, when a US Marine Corps prowler aircraft clipped the cable of a cable car at a ski resort in the Italian Alps, resulting in 20 deaths. Although Italian prosecutors initially demanded that the four crew members stand trial for involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide in Italy, an Italian court recognized that NATO treaties gave jurisdiction to US military courts.

The four were acquitted after a brief trial in North Carolina, according to The Independent, outraging the European public.

See also:

How Italy Became a ‘US, NATO Military Laboratory’

Italy ‘No Longer Sovereign State, It is on NATO’s, US’ Tight Military Leash’

February 12, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thousands of US airstrikes unaccounted for in Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan – report

RT | February 6, 2017

US Central Command has been misleading the public in its assessment of the overall progress in the war on terror by failing to account for thousands of airstrikes in Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria, a Military Times investigation reveals.

The investigation revealed that open source data of US Air Force strikes does not contain all the missiles fired. That incomplete data, however, continues to be used by the Pentagon on multiple occasions in official reports and media publications.

The publication says that in 2016 alone, American aircraft conducted at least 456 airstrikes in Afghanistan that were not recorded in the database maintained by the US Air Force.

The investigation also revealed discrepancies in Iraq and Syria where the Pentagon failed to account for nearly 6,000 strikes dating back to 2014, when the US-led coalition has launched its first airstrikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS,ISIL) terrorist targets.

According to the Air Force, coalition jets conducted 23,740 airstrikes through the end of 2016. The US Defense Department, however, puts the number at 17,861 until the end of January 2017.

“The Pentagon routinely cites these figures when updating the media on its operations against the Islamic State and al-Qaida affiliates in Iraq and Syria,” the publication says.

Military Times remains especially puzzled by a statement made by an Air Force official in December who assured the publication that its monthly summary of activity in Iraq and Syria “specifically” represents the entire American-led coalition “as a whole, which is all 20-nations and the US branches.”

“It’s unclear whether this statement was intentionally misleading, or simply indicative of widespread internal ignorance, confusion or indifference about what’s contained in this data,” Andrew deGrandpre, Military Times’ senior editor and Pentagon bureau chief, said in the article.

Military Times says that the “most alarming” aspects of the investigation are that the discrepancies in numbers go back as far as 2001, when the US, under George W. Bush’s administration, struck Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks on American soil.

The publication reveals that the unaccounted-for airstrikes in all three war zones were allegedly conducted by US helicopters and armed drones which are overseen by US Central Command.

“The enormous data gap raises serious doubts about transparency in reported progress against the Islamic State, al-Qaida, and the Taliban, and calls into question the accuracy of other Defense Department disclosures documenting everything from costs to casualty counts,” deGrandpre wrote.

The Pentagon and Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Those other key metrics include American combat casualties, taxpayer expense and the military’s overall progress in degrading enemy capabilities,” the publication added, wondering whether the military wanted to mislead the American public.

READ MORE:

US report on civilian casualties in Iraq & Syria: ‘Figures plucked out of thin air’

Pentagon acknowledges just 5-10% percent of actual civilian casualties in Syria – Amnesty to RT

February 5, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Japan’s Okinawa governor hits out at US bases during Washington visit

RT | February 3, 2017

The governor of Okinawa has used a trip to Washington to reiterate his opposition to the heavy presence of US military bases on the island, urging all Japanese citizens to rethink security arrangements between Tokyo and Washington.

Outspoken Governor Takeshi Onaga arrived in the US earlier this week, holding a press conference to convey his discontent with the high number of US military bases in Okinawa, which hosts 74 percent of Japan’s total US military presence.

“I think all Japanese citizens should think about the Japan-US security arrangements. US military bases occupy 6 percent of the whole of Japan and 70 percent of those US military bases are in places where the population density is about the same as Tokyo. I don’t like it anymore…” he said in response to a question from RT’s Gayane Chichakyan at a press conference.

He went on to cite jet crashes related to the US bases, as well as sexual assaults which have been linked to US soldiers since World War II.

Onaga and citizens of Okinawa have long protested the heavy presence of US military bases and troops on the island, with mass demonstrations drawing thousands last year.

Of particular concern is the planned relocation of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station from Ginowan to the less-populated area of Henoko, in Nago.

Onaga is against the relocation, stating it would destroy the environment of the bay surrounding the new site.

In December, the governor was defeated in a lawsuit filed by the central government regarding the air station, with Japan’s Supreme Court finding that it was illegal for Onaga to revoke the approval granted by his predecessor, Hirokazu Nakaima, for land reclamation required to build replacement runways at the new base.

But Okinawans could soon see their hopes answered, if President Donald Trump follows through with a campaign statement in which he said that he wants foreign nations to pay for US presence and protection in those countries.

Instead of seeing Trump’s statement as a threat, Okinawa policy adviser Moritake Tomikawa said a withdrawal of US troops would suit Okinawans just fine.

“Mr. Trump says if Japan doesn’t pay more than he’s going to withdraw the troops from Japan. As far as Okinawa people are concerned, that’s fine…” he said.

It is unclear, however, where Trump stands on the specific Okinawa issue. The new defense secretary, James Mattis, is currently in Japan, though his views on the issue also remain unclear.

Japan spends an estimated $1.5 billion a year on the US bases, while Washington dished out around $5.5 billion in 2016, according to the Pentagon.

VIDEO:

‘No Ospreys in our skies!’ Okinawa governor leads mass protest against US military bases

READ MORE:

Anti-US base activists push for Okinawa protester’s release

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | Leave a comment